One of our own EP’s (Exchange Participant) from AIESEC Ottawa, 3rd year Christlyn Satkunarajah, is finding herself involved with what both Indonesia and the AIESEC internship has to offer to her. Judging from what she has to say about her experience so far and all the fun photos, it seems that there is lots to see and learn still as she continues her internship! Here’s a Q&A we had with her to hear her thoughts and expectations.
Where is your internship?
What kind of work will you be doing?
I will be teaching English to employees that work for a company called Abyor International.
What were the challenges of obtaining your internship?
The waiting process was the most challenging. Because most of the countries took their time replying back so it was very hard to communicate.
How did you feel about going abroad?
I was scared at first but I was very excited to start a new journey.
What are your expectations of the job?
Since the company specializes in *SAP programming I’ve asked to be included in the projects so I can learn more about SAP and project management.
*SAP stands for Systems, Applications and Products. It is software that runs the majority of day-to-day business transactions and processes of a company.
What are you hoping this internship will do for you?
Personally, I hope to become more tolerant and acceptable of other cultures and traditions. Meet new people and learn to accommodate to any sort of life style. In the future I hope that the skills I’ve learned will help me professionally.
What are you looking forward to doing/experiencing on your exchange that you haven’t done so yet?
I am looking forward to travelling other cities in Indonesia since Jakarta is very modern looking. I also want to go see nearby countries as well. So far just travelling. Oh, I also want to go experience a wedding in Indonesia.
We hope to continue to hear from her and wish her the best of luck with the internship!
This is only a small snippet of what you can expect from an internship abroad. To here more about Christlyn’s experience working in Indonesia, follow her blog! http://christlynsatku.blogspot.ca/
AND FOLLOW AIESEC Ottawa’s WordPress blog for more updates on the ambitious endeavours of our members and exchange participants! Like our Facebook page for inspiration and updates! https://www.facebook.com/AIESECOttawa
GO ABROAD WITH AIESEC
How does an explorer fit into a new community while abroad?
In A.’s case, she was an international management student interested in experiencing the culture and energy of a third-world country. Though she had always had an interest in Latin culture, she found herself taking on an internship to China instead, working in China’s largest IT firm’s HR department, doing international research for their overseas division. Not only was her internship especially pertinent to her studies, A. learned a whole lot about settling into a new community abroad due to the incredible lack of diversity she found in China.
“People stare at you because you are a foreigner”, says A. who has blond hair and blue eyes. Several times she became aware of people sneaking pictures with her while she was out, while the younger and more forward people would come up to her and ask for her autograph. Although there was less staring in more urban and tourist-frequent areas of China, A. found it took a little while to get used to all the attention but eventually, she says, “You just get used to being the foreigner.”
While in China, one of the things A. noted was how Chinese firms within the country really seized on publicizing their foreign employees. Whenever a photo-taking opportunity arose, her managers made sure she would be in plain view in the pictures because they felt she enhanced their corporate image. Of course, this isn’t only true in China but in any rapidly-developing nation seeking to make an impact on the world stage and encourage global talent to contribute to their economies. For those of you who have grown up in multicultural Canada and are interested in going on an international internship, A.’s simple truth is that you will be singled out while you’re abroad.
Don’t worry though, because you’ll have much more to gain than lose from your experience abroad. While abroad, A. was able to take advantage of her weekends and statutory holidays to explore other renowned cities and countries. Despite working in Dalian and Shenyang of China for her internship, A. was able to travel to Shanghai, Beijing, and Xian (where she got to see the Terracotta Warriors she’d been excited about all her life!) as well as out of country to Japan to visit Tokyo, Korea to see Seoul, and finally to Hong Kong as well. Although she did a lot of out-of-country traveling, A. recommends that when you are settling in a new community abroad, it would be ideal to get involved by letting the locals show you around. It’s the locals who know where the best restaurants and stores are, and it’s the locals who will be able to protect you from other locals seeking to capitalize on the innocence and naivety of tourists. If you do what the locals do, and avoid forcing your own culture on the culture of the country you are visiting, your open mind will be the key to your enjoying and absorbing another world.
A unique experience for A. that she would have lost if she’d never gone to China is learning the locals’ perspective on the censorship from their government. For her, it was one thing to hear that sites such as Blogspot and Facebook were banned from public access, and another completely to have her friend express worries about A.’s internship experience blog and the government’s ability to turn on your computer through remote access to access your files while you are away from your desk. There are many issues and opinions that people in China do not discuss, which is quite a learning experience for us Canadians who have grown up invoking our right to freedom of speech whenever asked to produce silence when we were defiant children.
Fittingly, your experience in another country will take you out of your neat world and perhaps fit you into an environment that will gawk at you at first. But all is clearly not terrible because as A. happily recounted, when you meet another foreigner in a society that is not yet diverse or been exposed to many people of different races, you share a connection with this foreigner. You will make eye contact and give each other small nods and silent blessings of strength as you individually endure what is a whole society’s first encounter with foreign people. Having a buddy in this way will strengthen you, but A. was also fortunate enough to have a designated buddy from the local chapter of AIESEC, AIESEC UT. AIESEC UT’s buddy system gave A. a definite pillar of support at all times during her internship in China, as well as a new bosom friend with whom she developed a lasting friendship.
A.’s final recommendation for those of you embarking on an internship-adventure abroad is that whatever slights you encounter, you will soon forget. But she won’t ever forget that Korean woman who, though a complete stranger, held her hand on that subway ride smiling and nodding at her, speaking Korean (words of encouragement?) and filling her with an understanding that people of different cultures and languages can connect, and will connect, and would most importantly, love to connect.
Alternating between people pounding the floor with their rushed steps to class and others lounging upright against the walls, C. was drifting, as usual, from place to place in his unhurried but steadfast way through Desmarais Hall. Deep in the recesses of his mind were what you would find in your own mind: the approaching exams, the drama of friends, the promise of summer, the sunshine outside. Maybe he wasn’t looking for validation from anyone for his actions, but he certainly was looking for something or someone. He was in university after all, and it’s a well-known fact that the moment you step into a university building you are the same as everyone else – looking for something.
C.’s steps brought him upstairs to the student lounges where he would be finding his friends, already settled down and ready for laughter.
— “AIESEC is the largest student-run organization present in over 100 countries, and it was started after the second world war by students who thought that a diverse world perspective held by young people would be the key to preventing more wars!”
This baffled C. but the predator saw his surprise and smartly tried a different approach, handing him a postcard instead. Too polite to tell her that he’d much rather just go and join his friends who were down the hall, he took a resigned look at the postcard instead.
Only to notice that it was a picture of a person who had the Brazilian flag face-painted expertly on her face — The exact same picture that was his desktop picture because all his life he had wanted to visit Brazil (and the rest of Latin America). “It was destiny.” he told me.
I suppose if you believed in destiny and that sort of stuff, this would really make quite a good story. C. ended up in Brazil a month later, with the help of the student club that ran that table that had charitably interrupted C.’s day with a postcard. AIESEC sent C. to Brazil where he helped a not-for-profit organization help others – something C. believes in and hopes to spend his life after school doing. Although he doesn’t know where he will end up, or what his exact plans are the day after tomorrow, C. says that he sees himself back in Brazil for some other hopeful portion of his life.
When C. talks about Brazil’s team-based work society, vividly vibrant personalities, individualistic buildings, and passionately outgoing culture, he brightens up and you can’t help but notice the happy light in his eyes. He says that although he was met with many challenges along the way there – getting a visa, quitting his part-time job, not knowing a word of Portuguese before getting on the plane – he would jump on a chance to do it again, no hesitation, no questions asked.
Since his return from Brazil, C. has also chosen to take on many leadership roles within AIESEC and bonded with many like-minded people who have either gone on exchange and had their minds open and hearts stolen, or people who plan on going on exchange because they believe in this world perspective and the importance of an exploration of a world other than that which is already known.
Maybe he thinks that this was destiny at work. Maybe life has a funny way of working out sometimes. But definitely, keep your eyes open when you walk past those clubs tables at school. And definitely, know what you dream of so you can recognize it when it’s handed to you on a postcard.
Ren·ais·sance (r n -säns , -zäns , r n -säns , -zäns , r -n s ns). n. 1. A rebirth or revival. (The Free Online Dictionary)
AIESEC Ottawa’s online blog is back and ready to go! Feel free to breathe in and take a deep appreciation for our new layout and colours. Take a look around and see what you like. Leave a comment with suggestions and words of adoration. But most importantly, check back tomorrow for our very first official blog story!
What will it be about? Well, there’s one way to find out! :)
In commemoration of the start of something new, we present to our readers a little taste of the past. Enjoy!
What can we say, we like to spice things up!